November 28, 2016
Before I start writing about our sixth year of hosting the Dare Challenge men for Thanksgiving, let’s start with a bit of painting-the-kitchen-induced messiness. Because we just can’t truly appreciate a lovely space until we first see it in all of its disarray.
Some of these photos are taken about twenty-four hours before our Thanksgiving guests were to arrive. Doesn’t it just give you the heebies (as well as the jeebies) to look at this?
One problem we ran into during our prep time was that after the stove had been pulled out for painting, it turned out to be impossible to get it pushed back in. I wasn’t overly excited about that thought of having a protruding stove in my Thanksgiving kitchen.
Thankfully, Steve is a creative thinker. He ascertained that the little feet on the bottom of the stove had gotten hung up on the linoleum and that no amount of pushing, puffing and/or huffing was going to budge it.
So he gave it some thought and went to the garage and grabbed a car jack.
He put the jack under the stove, raised it up, and slid it in as nicely as you please.
Not only did I have a creatively thinking husband, I also had a helpful, home-from-college daughter. With all the painting chaos, I would never have gotten everything done if she hadn’t been here. Just when I would start to sag under a new wave of overwhelm-ment, she would jump in and lend a hand. Love my girl!
The day before Thanksgiving, she whipped up her famous S’More Cake.
Midway through the S’Moring, giggles overtook her.
Nice to have a giggling gal on the premises.
Thursday morning was chock full of a hundred tasks, from dusting the chairs . . .
to making lists . . .
to cutting the lemons . . .
to arranging the place mats in preparation for each dish that would arrive. (Our wonderful church people did most of the cooking and dropped food off all morning.)
Sarah put on her grandest gesture . . .
while Tom (a local police officer) did the candle-lighting honors.
At last, the moment we had been preparing for arrived and the Dare Challenge guys pulled up in their van.
When they arrived, we had been in the process of trying to carve two turkeys and a ham. As it turned out, one of the guys was a chef and was more than happy to take over the carving duties. And we were only too happy to let him!
The men were pretty wide-eyed over the spread of food that awaited them.
They were also a little wide-eyed when they saw this unexpected guest arrive on the scene.
Steve (the unexpected guest), and Tom (the aforementioned candle-lighting police officer) wandered around a few minutes in their finery, much to everyone’s amusement.
And then it was time to pray over the meal . . .
and dig in.
The blond lady (Misty) is the wife of another one of our town’s police officers. (He is hidden behind the chandelier.)
The blue tape on the floor is an arrow that Steve helpfully made to guide the traffic flow. Everyone got a kick out of the arrows.
Misty and Steve were delighted to find that they were both wearing happy socks and did some happy sock comparing and congratulating of their fellow happy sock wearer.
The afternoon was filled with conversation . . .
One of the younger guys had tears in his eyes as he thanked Steve and me several times for having them all over. Another man told us that this was the first Thanksgiving he had ever spent away from his daughter. Gratitude and grief . . . all melded together in a day of tears and laughter.
Over the six years we have been hosting Dare Challenge for Thanksgiving, approximately seventy-five men have walked through our door and found a place at our table, all of them in one of the most difficult seasons of their lives. It is such a joy to provide a peaceful place where they can find rest, beauty, laughter, and acceptance.
I’m so thankful for this Thanksgiving . . . and so thankful for the special men we got to share it with.
Here are a few posts from past Dare Challenge Thanksgivings.
Note: I just want to say that I am grateful to have these pictures to post today because I almost lost them all.
Steve upgraded my phone on Friday and on Saturday afternoon, when I finally had a chance to look at the photo album on my new phone, I realized that the pictures from Thanksgiving had not transferred over.
We had traded my old phone in and I knew that the salesperson at Verizon was planning on deleting everything from it. I jumped in my car and drove to the store and told them my story.
The saleswoman Steve had worked with was at lunch and they weren’t sure if she already wiped my phone. Another salesperson located my old phone and turned it on. (I was holding my breath during the whole boot up time.) Turns out the store had been so busy, they hadn’t had a chance to do anything with my phone and the pictures were still there. I was ever so thankful!
Thrift stores, fuzzy socks
and conversing with my Yorkie
are all on the list of things I love.